Replacing a faucet, particularly in the kitchen where they get the most use, is a home repair task that will come up from time to time. If plumbing is not a comfortable task, you do not need to be concerned. The job is easy to do with a few essential tools that any household should have on hand. Here’s how to replace a kitchen faucet.
Shut off the water supply valve to the kitchen faucet. Gain access to the pipes under the sink to disconnect the water pipes from the faucet. Once disconnected, undo the lock nut that holds the faucet in place. Once loose, remove the faucet from the top. Reverse this procedure to fit the new faucet.
There are many reasons that you may want to replace a kitchen faucet. The current one may be outdated, or it may be damaged and need replacement.
Whatever your reason, you don’t need to get a plumber out to do this relatively simple job that you can quite easily accomplish yourself with some basic guidelines.
Installing A New Faucet
As with every home repair project, planning is 80% of the requirement to get the job done correctly and successfully, with the last 20% having the right tools and materials.
The procedure is relatively straightforward if you replace a faulty faucet with a new one. If, however, you are putting in a completely different set to modernize your kitchen, then there may be a few additional tasks to complete.
Ensure that the new faucets you buy will fit in the existing holes in the sink. If your faucets are not connected to the sink but come up through the kitchen countertop, you will need to get fixtures suitable for this type of fitment.
Tip: Make sure that the base thread of the new faucet you buy is the matching size and thread for your water pipe connectors.
These are the most common tool requirements for this kitchen plumbing job.
- An adjustable wrench.
- A pair of pliers
- Teflon tape for thread waterproofing.
- Caulking gun
- Utility knife
Some faucets come with new water pipes that you can connect to the shut-off valves under your sink. If they do not come with new pipes, it would be good to invest in a new set of pipes simultaneously.
This is unnecessary, but you may as well replace the pipes while crawling under the sink to replace the faucet and be sure that the pipes will not leak.
With the job planned and all the tools and materials in place, it is time to get down to the task of replacing the faucet.
How To Replace The Kitchen Faucet
There are several steps where the procedures will vary depending on the type of faucet installed in your kitchen and the layout and kind of plumbing. However, the general concepts will remain the same for all kinds of faucets.
Shut Off The Water Supply
Open the underside of the sink to gain access to the pipes and connectors that are supply water to the faucets above. There will usually be two shut-off valves against the back wall that control the hot and cold water supply pipes.
Turn these valves to the off position. You probably won’t need any tools to do this, but sometimes these valves are hard to move due to lack of use. You can apply your pliers to move the valves if necessary.
This is one step where you may find your plumbing is different. You may have only one shut-off valve under the sink for one of the water lines, or you may have no shut-off valves.
You will need to follow the water lines until you find a valve that will shut off the water, or you may have to shut off the main water valve that supplies your entire home.
Warn other people living in your house to switch the water supply to the entire house to plan for their bathroom needs.
Open the kitchen faucet to drain the pipes with the water supply shut off.
Remove The Old Kitchen Faucet
Disconnect the water supply pipes from the underside of the faucet. The space is usually quite tight and difficult to access with large wrenches.
You may have to experiment and try a few different varieties of wrenches out till you find one that will fit in the available space.
In some cases, you may not have the right size wrench. In a pinch, you may successfully get a strong pair of pliers into the space and loosen the connector nut in this way.
Once the pipes are disconnected, there may still be water in the pipes. Point the end of the pipes down into a plastic container to drain them out.
If you replace the connector pipes, it would be good to remove them from the shut-off valves. Hold the valve side securely in place with the pair of pliers while you undo the nut that secures the connector pipe. This will prevent the valve and pipe from twisting and possibly sustaining damage.
One or more locking nuts will secure the main part of the faucet under the sink. This tight space is often difficult to negotiate with wrenches, but you will get them loose with a bit of tenacity and perseverance.
Once again, your pliers, or a pair of locking pliers, sometimes called vice-grips, can come to your rescue in this tight space.
Once the locking nuts are off, the faucet assembly should come away from the top of the sink reasonably quickly.
Clean off the top of the sink where the old faucet was positioned. There may be some old silicone in this area used as a sealant. Scrape the old silicone off with a utility knife.
Fitting The New Faucet
Depending on the fitment style of your new faucet, you may be able to fit the new water pipes to the bottom of the faucet before fitting the faucet to the sink. This makes the fitment of the pipes much easier if it can be done without climbing under the sink.
Use Teflon waterproofing tape around the threads before you fasten the pipes to the underside of the faucet. This will help to prevent any leaks at this join.
Tip: Wind the Teflon tape on the thread in the same direction you will be turning the nut, usually clockwise. This will prevent the nut from unraveling the tape as it moves down the thread.
Then, pass the pipes through the top of the sink as you put the new faucet in place. Once the faucet is in place, from the underside, slip the locking nut over the end of the loose end of the pipes if your faucet is secured in this way.
Before you tighten the faucet assembly down, you may want to place some silicone under the assembly on top where it meets the sink. This will waterproof the unit and prevent water from wicking down and leaking into the space below the sink.
Fit the securing nuts and tighten them up to hold the faucet assembly firmly in place. Wipe away any silicone squeeze-out on top of the sink.
Reconnect The Water Supply
Re-fit the opposite end of the water supply pipes to the water shut-off valves. Once again, use the Teflon tape to waterproof the threaded coupling to prevent any leaks at this point.
Use the same procedure you used to remove the pipes from the shut-off valves; secure the valve with pliers while tightening the pipe with a wrench.
Turn the shut-off valves to the on position and thoroughly check all pipes and connection points for leaks. Should you find leaks, it will most likely be where the pipes are joined to the shut-off valves or the faucet.
Simply tightening the connections with another turn or two of the nut should be sufficient to stop the leaks.
If the leaks persist, you may have to remove the pipe where it is leaking and apply more Teflon tape to the thread. Once the leaks are all addressed, your job is complete!
As you can see, replacing a kitchen faucet is not as difficult a task as you may perceive. It is also a relatively easy home repair project that you should accomplish in an hour or two.
Fitting faucets yourself is good because then you know how they work, and if something goes wrong with the plumbing, you will be able to save yourself some money and fix the problem on your own.
So once you have replaced your kitchen faucet, pack away your tools, pat yourself on the back for not calling out a plumber and crack open a cold drink! You deserve it!
For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.